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A lack of understanding of a company's brand among senior leadership is damaging relationships between businesses and their customers, according to new research.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) found that two-thirds (67%) of marketing professionals believe their senior leaders see the company's brand as just a communication concept, failing to fully embed brand values throughout their organisations and relationship with customers.

CIM’s Brand Experience study of professional marketers, supported by Brandworkz, reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) think their senior leadership teams have a high impact on the delivery of their brand promise through customer experience, yet only half (52%) believe these same teams have a strong understanding of their role in doing so.

Positively, two-third (65%) of marketers believe that their senior leadership teams regard brand as a high priority for the entire company, yet the report indicates that this often fails to cascade down an organisation. Additionally, more than a third (36%) feel that leaders within their organisation don't understand what brand means for the areas they lead, and 39% don't think the key business functions, including leadership, speak with a unified voice with regards to a brand vision.

Worryingly, 48% report that brand performance and brand-related metrics aren’t regularly discussed at the most senior levels of their organisation, and 48% don't have a Marketing Director or CMO on the executive committee and management board

Steve Woolley, Head of External Affairs at CIM, said: "A strong brand drives growth when customers see its promise delivered. So it’s great that marketers tell us brand is a priority for their company, but dig deeper and this looks worryingly superficial. Many report not delivering consistently on brand promise, and that leaders within the business often don’t understand what brand means for their teams. For a company to implement brand and truly understand its value, the motivation needs to start at the top. Our report highlights that this is not always a reality. As it stands, opportunities are being lost and brand is not being utilised to its full potential."